words with her toil-worn finger. She often grew confused,

The distance from Havenfiord to Reikjavik is scarcely nine miles; but as I was unwilling to tire my good old guide, I took three hours to accomplish it. The road was, generally speaking, very good, excepting in some places, where it lay over heaps of lava. Of the much-dreaded dizzy abysses I saw nothing; the startling term must have been used to designate some unimportant declivities, along the brow of which I rode, in sight of the sea; or perhaps the "abysses" were on the lava-fields, where I sometimes noticed small chasms of fifteen or sixteen feet in depth at the most.

words with her toil-worn finger. She often grew confused,

Shortly after eight o'clock in the evening I was fortunate enough to reach Reikjavik safe and well. Through the kind forethought of Herr Knudson, a neat little room had been prepared for me in one of his houses occupied by the family of the worthy baker Bernhoft, and truly I could not have been better received any where.

words with her toil-worn finger. She often grew confused,

During my protracted stay the whole family of the Bernhofts shewed me more kindness and cordiality than it has been my lot frequently to find. Many an hour has Herr Bernhoft sacrificed to me, in order to accompany me in my little excursions. He assisted me most diligently in my search for flowers, insects, and shells, and was much rejoiced when he could find me a new specimen. His kind wife and dear children rivalled him in willingness to oblige. I can only say, may Heaven requite them a thousand-fold for their kindness and friendship!

words with her toil-worn finger. She often grew confused,

I had even an opportunity of hearing my native language spoken by Herr Bernhoft, who was a Holsteiner by birth, and had not quite forgotten our dear German tongue, though he had lived for many years partly in Denmark, partly in Iceland.

So behold me now in the only town in Iceland, { 27} the seat of the so-called cultivated classes, whose customs and mode of life I will now lay before my honoured readers.

Nothing was more disagreeable to me than a certain air of dignity assumed by the ladies here; an air which, except when it is natural, or has become so from long habit, is apt to degenerate into stiffness and incivility. On meeting an acquaintance, the ladies of Reikjavik would bend their heads with so stately and yet so careless an air as we should scarcely assume towards the humblest stranger. At the conclusion of a visit, the lady of the house only accompanies the guest as far as the chamber-door. If the husband be present, this civility is carried a little further; but when this does not happen to be the case, a stranger who does not know exactly through which door he can make his exit, may chance to feel not a little embarrassed. Excepting in the house of the "Stiftsamtmann" (the principal official on the island), one does not find a footman who can shew the way. In Hamburgh I had already noticed the beginnings of this dignified coldness; it increased as I journeyed further north, and at length reached its climax in Iceland.

Good letters of recommendation often fail to render the northern grandees polite towards strangers. As an instance of this fact, I relate the following trait:

Among other kind letters of recommendation, I had received one addressed to Herr von H-, the "Stiftsamtmann" of Iceland. On my arrival at Copenhagen, I heard that Herr von H- happened to be there. I therefore betook myself to his residence, and was shewn into a room where I found two young ladies and three children. I delivered my letter, and remained quietly standing for some time. Finding at length that no one invited me to be seated, I sat down unasked on the nearest chair, never supposing for an instant that the lady of the house could be present, and neglect the commonest forms of politeness which should be observed towards every stranger. After I had waited for some time, Herr von H- graciously made his appearance, and expressed his regret that he should have very little time to spare for me, as he intended setting sail for Iceland with his family in a short time, and in the interim had a number of weighty affairs to settle at Copenhagen; in conclusion, he gave me the friendly advice to abandon my intention of visiting Iceland, as the fatigues of travelling in that country were very great; finding, however, that I persevered in my intention, he promised, in case I set sail for Reikjavik earlier than himself, to give me a letter of recommendation. All this was concluded in great haste, and we stood during the interview. I took my leave, and at first determined not to call again for the letter. On reflection, however, I changed my mind, ascribed my unfriendly reception to important and perhaps disagreeable business, and called again two days afterwards. Then the letter was handed to me by a servant; the high people, whom I could hear conversing in the adjoining apartment, probably considered it too much trouble to deliver it to me personally.



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